The enchanting monsters

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination — Richard Wright

Last Friday night, looking over my outline for my current writing project (i.e. second novel), I came to the conclusion that the outline is complete. For now, that is. I say that since anything can happen from the time I resume working on the novel to the moment I believe the story is finished.

I decided awhile ago, after having written the rough draft of the novel’s first act, I needed to stop and nail down the second and third acts. I knew what I wanted but I needed to put it down on file cards to see something tangible and moved them around like building blocks. I didn’t want to start writing again until the complete blueprint was laid out in front of me.

Well, I have the blueprint. Yay. Now to steal a couple of hours (or more) a day to spend time with my characters. Preferably in full throttle. Ok, maybe not full throttle all the time. Maybe we can intersperse that with a jaunty but sorta slow run. I think we can manage that. Maybe.

Anyway, I’m excited regardless of what speed me and my boys willing be traveling. Naturally, I’m going to go through the first act again because I’ve made a slight but significant change to the main female character. That requires me going into the first act to alter a few things. And I can’t wait to see how she will pop off the screen/page once I’ve made the change. Her changes will affect my boys significantly. This is going to be interesting. And in a slightly sadistic/masochistic kind of way, it’s going to be fun.

My boys and my badass gal are more than ready to show me how they intend to roll. They’ve been so good about the fact my life has been crazy since February. Didn’t think they had this much patience for me. But they do and I’m pleased they haven’t wandered away from me. They’re sticking with me. And that says a lot.

That being said, I’m rubbing my hands together in great anticipation. They are the enchanting monsters of my imagination. And I am ready to meet them head on and run with them again.

The continuation of my adventures with them awaits.

Here goes nothing

Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want — Kristin Armstrong

In a recent post, I rattled off about the concept of doing everything, how messy doing everything can get, and how great messy can be if you don’t let it run you over.

Well, messy just got real. Messy officially kicked off last week. It’s exciting in a masochistic way and a little daunting.

Without getting into specifics, all I can say is the latest additions to my responsibilities are things I’ve done before. But they were things that had never been a part of my day job. These things, these experiences were earned through other parts of my life via past jobs, volunteerism and the joys being part of a particular community. To incorporate those experiences into my day job is something I had not anticipated on happening.

Quite frankly, I was happy to just keep them separate. Guess that’s not happening now. And based on early reactions I’ve received, there are folks who are thrilled about my evolving job. Yeah, things are going to get messy.

I will admit to being a little nervous about the new responsibilities. The handful of folks who do know about the role I will be taking on, are thrilled. They seem ready to give me the support I need and are confident that I can pull it off. Oh, boy. I have jokingly mentioned that I haven’t done anything yet, therefore there is an outside chance I might screw this up.

They laugh and tell me it’s not going to happen. Such faith.

This transition means I must be vigilant in keeping my writing life from taking a backseat to life. Fortunately, I have been finding myself more in the company of my fictional characters, my boys, when I’m away from work. Without much thought, it looks like I am turning to them to maintain the sense of groundedness and balance. I’m ironing out the details of the third act of the novel. I’m close to picking up where I left off. I’m this close to resuming the narrative of my boys’ stories. I want and need to play with them again. And the prospect of that feels better than awesome. It feels like home.

I think being at ‘home’ for a couple of hours a day would be a good start. Once I resume tapping on the keyboard again, those couple of hours will probably extend to four hours or longer, depending if it’s my day off and I get all my chores and errands squared away as quickly as possible. I’m really looking forward to it.

Not sure if I can say the same for my new responsibilities. It’s good to be a little nervous, right? It means you don’t want to royally fuck it up. Right? Anyway, I think it’s all in the preparation, prioritization and organization. So is taking a deep breath and taking that first step.

Here goes nothing.

A little dirt, a lot of sweat

If your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life — Bill Watterson

I love Bill Watterson. I love Calvin and Hobbes. I’m not sure if I love the green knees you get from gardening. But I do like its inference that you’ve put in some elbow grease into your gardening efforts. However, I’ve solved that dilemma by growing everything in planters and a garden box this year. No green knees. Just dirty hands.

So far, the planters looking promising. The peas and green beans are looking quite happy and aggressive in their growth. The dill looks hopeful. They’re just popping out and if they can get beyond growing threes inches in height, I’ll be happy. The first leaves are sprouting in the other three planters and I’ve already forgotten what seeds I tossed into them. I’m terrible at keeping track. One of them has the Swiss chard. I think another one has some variety of bok choy. I think the last one has beets. I’m not sure. But hey, there are little green leaves sprouting up and I’m pleased. My green thumb has not screwed up yet. I’ll probably know by the beginning of July whether or not my seed choices were good calls.

Another call I’ve made is to try growing microgreens. I was inspired by a friend who generously offered me his potted microgreens to take home, grow and enjoy. And as a result, I find microgreens fascinating. Of course, my ambitious green thumb wants to give growing microgreens a try. I picked up some lettuce and mixed greens seeds, and two small pots that can easily sit on any of my window sills. I look at this as an experiment. If it works, I might consider picking up a compact indoor garden unit with a grow light for the winter. I’ll see how the summer goes with this experiment before I decide.

Fortunately, the seeds are starting to sprout. The odd one here and there. Knowing how many seeds were used, I’m hoping the rest will appear eventually. I think I’m supposed to give it two or three weeks before I start seeing anything.

Here goes nothing.

*****

On Saturday, the CrossFit box where I work out, participated in the 2017 Challenge for Life in support for CancerCare Manitoba. There was the choice of walking 20 km or doing 200 non-continuous minutes of fitness. Oh, and raise a little money for the foundation, too.

The call went out to the members to see who would be up for 200 minutes of fitness fun. Over a dozen members — I’m thinking 14-16 but I could be wrong — was up for the challenge. And that included me.

Aside from getting a ‘little’ sweaty, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turned out, Mandy, coach and co-owner of the facility, put together a great set of WODs for everyone to attack. It’s crazy how quickly 200 minutes can fly when you’re busy taking your next breath. There were burpees, box jumps, skipping, running, rowing, sit ups, push ups and the whole complement of lifts – deadlifts, snatches, clean and jerks, front squats, back squats, thrusters disguised as push presses. Yep, we covered the gamut.

After the challenge was down in the books, we had a picnic — a little pulled chicken, some fresh veggies with your choice of ranch dip or hummus, corn tortilla chips, watermelon and cookies. Yummy.

Not surprisingly, I’m still sore from the challenge. But it’s a good sore, as they say. There’s already talk of doing it again next year.

I don’t think it’s too early to say ‘Count me in!’, is it?